Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Gum Thief

I guess I keep hoping for the best whenever I pick up a Douglas Coupland novel.  I liked the early stuff, such as Generation X and Shampoo Planet, but then I hated most of the other stuff.  Microserfs is the worst book I have ever read, and probably the worst book ever written.  It perplexes me when I note that someone has awarded it 5 stars on Amazon.

I read Eleanor Rigby when it came out.  I got an advance copy directly from Mr. Coupland.  He signed it for me too.  I hated it.  I hate The Gum Thief too.

The book has no plot.  There is a vague story with lots of his quirky pop culture references, but the book has little to keep one reading, except for the bizarre Glove Pond novel-within-a-novel sections.  To me, this is the most interesting part of the book, and it goes nowhere after its dusty beginning, except for a meandering ending.

The only real plot event is one that is telegraphed early in the book, and it follows a clich├ęd trip to Europe device that is disappointing and not terribly interesting.

Of course, those of you love DC will love it.  I will probably avoid Mr. Coupland from now on, but I still plan to finally visit Canoe Landing Park this summer.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Look at my CD Collection, Part 9: Daniel Ash (and David J)

Got distracted by various things.  Life is busy, and I have been neglecting my blog. I took an extra long weekend last week and have another long weekend this weekend.  Every weekend ought to be long, if you ask me.  Anyway, because I have nothing better to write about and because blogging expectations have rarely been lower, I continue with a series of self-indulgent posts.

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Bauhaus disintegrated into several subsequent (and less interesting) parts starting in 1983, when the band first broke up.  Bauhaus reformed many years later, but I have no idea what is happening now.  I will save my discussion of Bauhaus, Peter Murphy, Love and Rockets, and Tones on Tail for later.  But now, I have to talk about Daniel Ash and a little bit about David J, both of whom were members of Bauhaus.

I would describe Daniel Ash's first solo record, Coming Down (1991) as a mediocre affair.  I got this CD free from CFNY.  I got lots of freebies from CFNY over the years.  I was never comfortable with calling this station The Edge.  To me, this station died when it stopped being The Spirit of Radio.  Sadly, it is now owned by Corus, and has been reduced to a crappy radio station, just like all of the others.

Coming Down isn't terrible but it isn't great either.  A highlight for me is the title track.  I also like the guitar lick in Daniel Ash's This Love too.  The sad truth is that I haven't played this CD in probably 15 years, which says a lot.  Perhaps I should sell it.  Not surprisingly, I have no other CDs from Mr. Ash.

Having said that, I was less impressed with David J's solo work. I picked up the Candy on the Cross EP and was quite interested to learn that he covered one of my favourite John Cale songs, Antarctica Starts Here.  This track did nothing for me, and I think that the sad experience of listening to that EP scarred me and prevented me from buying any more of his music.  Maybe that's unfair, and I guess I ought to investigate his other music.

The truth seems to be that Love and Rockets and Tones on Tail are better than Daniel Ash of David J on their own.  The same is true of Bauhaus, a band that is far greater than the sum of its parts.